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Rams have gotten no indication that Aaron Donald will be showing up

Rams GM Les Snead discusses the team's decision to trade for Sammy Watkins, why the hiring of Sean McVay was key to the deal and how the process played out.

With the third week of the preseason over and the first week of the regular season less than two weeks away, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald remains absent. So have the Rams gotten any indication he’ll be showing up before Week One?
“We haven’t received any word like that,” coach Sean McVay told reporters on Sunday. “Right now, that dialogue is ongoing. I know we had some meetings and discussions with their representation and that’s something that we’re working through to try and get figured out as soon as possible. If we do, we’ll be excited about that and if not, we’ve got to be ready to adjust and move forward. That’s the approach that we’ve taken, but certainly we’re very optimistic and hopeful that we’ll get that done. But we don’t have any specific updates, it’s kind of the same as where it’s been the last couple weeks.”

Where it’s been the last couple of weeks is pretty much nowhere. In a recent visit to PFT Live, Rams G.M. Les Snead indicated that there’s communication between the two sides. But Snead didn’t create the impression that significant progress is being made. At some, however, there arguably needs to be a greater sense of urgency regarding Donald’s absence.
“I think every day there’s a heightened reason in wanting him to be around,” McVay said Sunday. “Whether that was at the very start of training camp – any time that you have the ability to have one of your best players who’s not present because of something outside of things that we can control, the injuries and different things like that, you want Aaron here. As far as putting a timetable on it, kind of like we’ve discussed, it’s hard to really say. All that we can do right now, until that issue is resolved is move forward and kind of start to have some contingency plans in place. It’s kind of the same approach for us, where we’re focused on helping the guys that are here and are working and trust that Aaron is working in the meantime. If we’re able to get that worked out, then he’ll be ready to go. If we do that then there will be some plans that we have to have in place. Having an appreciation for the training camp, the offseason, all that stuff that that entails to try to be smart with him and that will be a good problem for us to have to work out.”

Until Donald shows up, the Rams will need other guys to get it done.
"[I]t’s . . . a unique opportunity for some guys to step up,” McVay said. “I think we’ve seen some really good things from Tanzel Smart that you see him play at the three technique, you see him play at the nose. Michael Brockers has taken on that leadership role, which he’s had for the last couple years and I think it gives you a chance to continue to evaluate guys that have been on this roster like an Ethan Westbrooks and a [Louis] Trinca-Pasat.”

All due respect, none of those guys is Aaron Donald. The Rams need him, Donald knows it, and Donald is taking a stand now in order to secure his financial future before he puts his health at any further risk.

Whatever the gap between the two positions, Donald apparently won’t be showing up until it closes. And it doesn’t appear to be closing any time soon.